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Small Business Digest


Sound Bite Introductions Can Spur Growth, Sales

Creating a "sound bite" that tells the firm's story is a key component to building growth, sales. 

In the busy world, no one has time for the full story--they want a synopsis, a digest, a capsule that takes only seconds to deliver, is easy to swallow, and resonates in their minds.

And it must contain everything they need to know. Since publicity is about getting a message across, brevity is a must. Companies must create a short introductory message that will cut through the din and draw attention to who they are, what they do, and the benefit it will provide. These messages are called sound bites.

To get a message across, great sound bite that will immediately capture the attention of busy people is needed. The sound bite must be delivered quickly, clearly, and compellingly. The more briefly it is said, the better it is.

The media is especially impatient and wants information fast. Most news stories are delivered in ten seconds or less and most TV segments run for three minutes. Since the media moves so fast, companies must deliver information to them fast.

Create a sound bite. Make sure it includes the company name, the product or service provided, and how it will help the consumer. Create the sound bite in two stages: first, create a message that can be delivered in less than thirty seconds; then cut it down to ten or fifteen seconds for the media. Radio news segments come in ten-second increments so "if you can't express what you want and why it's newsworthy in ten seconds, you're off the phone," advised a news director for a major NBC affiliate.

The purpose of a sound bite is to turn listeners on; it's a verbal business card that can be delivered when introduced to new people. It's the "elevator speech": a snappy, self-description that can be rattled off in the time it takes an elevator to rise from the lobby to the fifth floor.

As theatrical empresario David Belasco said, "If you can't write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don't have a clear idea." A sound bite is the foundation on which to build a forceful and memorable public persona. It's the first impression made, an attention-grabbing device that will get the company and message noticed and remembered. Think of it as an investment with an immediate return because every time it is used, someone considers paying the company.

Writing a sound bite forces people to sharpen their focus and examine their approach. It also makes them identify the audiences, clarifying who the company is addressing and what they hope to receive from them. When these fields are narrowed, it's much easier to promote the company.

The ABCs of Sound Bites

A sound bite must be a grabber--a memorable message that makes listeners want to buy the products, champion the causes, and fight the company's wars. If it's short and gets their attention, it buys the company more time to sell. The sound bite must be:

INTERESTING enough to attract immediate ATTENTION,

POWERFUL enough to be REMEMBERED, and

CONVINCING enough to stir overloaded listeners into ACTION.

Examples of a variety of effective sound bites are the following:
"I used to weigh over 300 pounds. Now, I'm a size 8. I can teach you how to lose weight and keep it off."
--Diet book author

"My name is ________. My free tips on make investors rich from Internet stocks."
--Investment broker

"I teach people to look rich, even if they aren't."
--Fashion advisor

"I'm a ghost writer. I turn your experiences, adventures, and ideas into bestselling books."
--Freelance writer

"My name is _________. I free folks from financial worry. Give me a call at _________ and I'll do the same for you."
--Financial consultant

Adapted from article in "Rick Frishman's Author 101 Newsletter" - Subscribe at for more information

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